From someone who has dealt with digestive issues for a few years now, I've tried EVERYTHING. I've felt the frustration and desperation. I've tried eliminating these foods, those foods, this diet, that diet. You name it, I've done it.
Reading the book "Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life" recently provided me with a whole new outlook on digestion and the body that I've never thought of before. Our bodies are made up of energy (yin and yang) and if that energy is out of balance, your digestion and hormones can be too. I took a few tips on more practices to flow with digestive friendly energy and it's made a big difference in how I've felt.
I also took a few other tips from other places like social media, online research, etc. that have definitely been helpful. Now, I'm not a doctor or health professional and am only speaking from experience and what I have found has worked for me! Every body is different but hopefully these simple things can give you some insight and guidance.
Good luck and enjoy! xoxo
Eating in a rush, while watching T.V, or just not in a present state always makes me feel crappy. I don't focus on chewing my food or putting my brain in it's "digestion" state to send the signals to the body it needs to. When I sit down, without any distractions, making sure I chew my food COMPLETELY and am in a calmer state, my digestion seems to work the way it's supposed to. I am definitely a slower eater now and also find I don't eat as much because my body has time to realize it's full. When you scarf down your food, that can't really happen and you can end up overeating which can exacerbate symptoms. Which leads me to my next point...
EATING SMALLER PORTIONS
My digestion is slowwwww to begin with and I take digestive enzymes 10-15 minutes before meals to help break down my food. With big meals with a lot of protein/fat I'll also take HCL w/ pepsin (if you get heartburn, that's telling you that you have stomach acid issues so look into HCL). But, if I overeat to the point of full or past full, my digestion goes into overload and freaks the F out. I feel bloated and stuffed for HOURS. Eating smaller portions has helped this SO much, I no longer feel uncomfortable or like my food is sitting in my stomach all day.
EATING & DRINKING WARM FOODS
When the weather was warm, I was all about the smoothies and iced drinks. Boy, was I really f*cking myself over. Our digestive system favors warm, comforting foods. I now start my day every morning by drinking a warm glass of water with lemon juice and L-glutamine powder (healing to the gut wall) to support my digestion.
I was also eating a smoothie bowl every day for breakfast which is not only cold but full of raw/hard to digest foods. I'd always feel bloated after and didn't understand why. Swapping out those smoothie bowls for other breakfast items has been life changing. I was also having iced coffee/matcha/tea every morning so now I'll do warm drinks with my breakfast which helps everything go down smoothly. I try to limit my caffeine in general as well, it can aggravate the gut wall since it moves things through so quickly. I took a 30 day break which I definitely think was beneficial.
It's funny, because at restaurants you're often served a glass of ice water with your meal. Drinking cold water before or during your meal is actually one of the WORST things for digestion!!! I'll have a warm drink with my breakfast but don't drink during lunch/dinner. When I drink water throughout the day, I'll throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to reach room temp.
EATING COOKED & EASY TO DIGEST FOODS
Not only are cold foods hard to digest but so are raw foods, especially if you're dealing with digestive issues already. I love a good salad but unfortunately, they don't agree with my system. Now, I'll sauté my veggies and do a big warm buddha bowl if I'm craving a salad. For crunch, I'll throw on some sprouted nuts or seeds (sprouting improves digestibility).
A lot of the healthiest foods, unfortunately, can be a b*tch to digestive system. Cruciferous veggies in like broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower or dark leafy greens like kale are superfood power houses but not the easiest for the digestive system to handle. I generally stick to veggies like zucchini, sweet potatoes, and spinach instead which don't bother me. If I am going to have cauliflower or kale, I'll cook it down a lot or puree it into something like cauliflower mash.
WATCHING MY SUGAR INTAKE
In my case, I have issues with yeast overgrowth so guess what yeast love? SUGAR! Sugar overload only makes my symptoms (and skin) worse so I try to watch my intake on a day to day basis. The less sugar you eat, the less sugar you need. Now, things with a little sugar taste so sweet to me so I don't need a lot to satisfy my sweet tooth. I also have wayyyy less sugar cravings.
This could probably be the most important thing out of all! Your gut is directly connected to your brain, if you're stressed out, it knows. I haven't always had a positive relationship with food and with digestive issues, it's hard to maintain food freedom. BUT, I have found that restricting myself and stressing about what I eat all the time only makes my digestion worse. It's all about balance for me, I eat mainly to feel good. For me, that's sticking to some general guidelines (like warm/cooked foods) and eating paleo-ish. I still indulge when my body is craving it, eat out on the weekends, and enjoy a few alcoholic drinks. And guess what!? I'm still alive!
It's also important to develop some stress reducing practices and something so simple for me has been making a golden milk with dairy free milk, turmeric, ginger, warming spice, and ashwagandha every night after dinner to help me wind down and fall asleep easy. Turmeric and ginger are both anti-inflammatories so they help any inflammation in my gut, making my digestion run smoother. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic mushroom that helps your body deal with stress. Especially on the nights I teach, this combo helps lower my cortisol levels before bed that way they can rise naturally in the morning and I don't wake up lethargic. I've also incorporated CBD oil, reishi & chaga tea (code BASOUSA25 for 25% off!), and magnesium powder to keep my anxiety in check. They also help reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and heal the gut!
I don't know how I lived without Trader Joes a majority of my life, it's the SH*T! A ton of healthy and organic options, at such an affordable price. Don't get me wrong, I still do love Whole Foods and there's certain brand name things I still go there for but I do MOST of my household shopping at TJ's.
It was hard to narrow down the list, there's a lot of things I get there because it's so well priced but here are a few of my favorites! BT-Dubs, they're not all pictured. :)
Organic Cauliflower Rice
ALWAYS have a bag or two of this in the freezer that I use in smoothies to add creaminess/extra nutrition or for easy throw together meals. My turmeric broccoli cauliflower rice is a go-to for me!
Organic Lemon & Ginger Water
Got hooked on these after seeing them on the IG! It's a very subtle taste of flavor and a great alternative to just plain old boring water.
MY FAV BOOCH! It's only $2.99 at TJ's which is amazing and cheapest around.
Nut & Seed Butter
The selection of nut butters at TJ's is incredible! My favorites are the creamy almond butter, sunflower butter (unsweetened), and the mixed nut butter. I also always grab my tahini at TJ's, it's organic and cheap! What to do with all these buttahs? Make cookies. :P
Organic Coconut Milk & Cream
ONE INGREDIENT - Coconut milk (or cream). No gums or additives, organic, and just under $2! I use coconut milk in smoothies and my caffeine free latte. Coconut cream can be used as an alternative to heavy cream in recipes, including whip cream!
I'm a total basic b*tch and sucker for chia, flax, and hemp seeds. I love that they boost up my vitamin/mineral intake and it's as easy as blending them in a smoothie. I also dig hemp milk because you don't have to strain it, just blend 3 TBSP of hemp seeds with 2 cups of water in a high speed blender. TJ's superfood seeds are too cheap to pass up.
Organic Acai Packets
Because who doesn't love a thick AF acai bowl!? These packs from TJ's are unsweetened which is a huge plus. Acai is high in antioxidants and makes a great base for a smoothie/smoothie bowl.
If you follow me on IG, you know I'm all about the TJ's 21 Seasoning Mix! I do a dry rub on chicken wings with it and they are out of this world! There's SO many different options for seasoning mixes, I've yet to try them all but will certainly report back when I do. ;)
Whenever I don't know what I'm going to make for dinner or don't feel like cooking, I always seem to gravitate towards chicken sausages. SO easy to just heat up in the oven or on the grill since they're already cooked. The TJ brand is great quality with no sketchy ingredients! My favorite flavor is the jalapeño.
For my soy-free friends, this is a great alternative to soy sauce. You won't know the difference and I actually like the flavor better! Use the same way you would soy sauce in any recipe.
I do have a spiralizer at home so there's no excuse why I should buy these BUT I did and they're amazing. Sautéed them up with some of the jalapeño chicken sausages and tossed in a homemade sauce of tahini, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, salt/pepper, and water. Another quick and easy throw together dinner! Just a note, they're in the freezer section. :)
This blend packs of shredded kale, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts packs a TON of nutrition and I love its crunch. I've eaten as a salad and used it as a coleslaw but my favorite is tossing it with dairy free tahini caesar dressing.
Canned Wild Salmon
Salmon salad has been my newest lunch addiction and this canned skinless/boneless version is so easy to throw together. Wild salmon is high in omega-3's which do wonders for the brain and gut. I was so happy to find it at TJ's over a dollar cheaper than at Whole Foods!
Salmon Jerky Dog Treats
Bentley goes WILD for these!! A lot of dog treats can have additives and chemicals but not for my baby! These jerky treats are made from salmon raised without antibiotics and salt, THAT'S IT!
Hi, my name is Brittany and I'm a smoothie addict. GUILTY. At least in the Summer, I crave a thick, creamy smoothie bowl every morning topped with ALL the goods. I'm all about the crunch so I like to add some toasted coconut, pumpkin seeds, and cacao nibs - THE BEST. By this point, I've got my favorite smoothies and smoothie bowls down where I just throw stuff in but I know it's not that easy for everyone. SO... here is your building a smoothie guide!
I try to throw as much nutrition as I can into my smoothies and prefer a natural sugar (from fruits), not overly sweet one. Once I started adjusting my smoothies, my taste buds adjusted so I now I don't need as much sweetness. If you're not quite there yet, try adding 1-2 dates. Check out my Instagram page for some smoothie and smoothie bowl recipes!
Building a Smoothie 101
The "Smooth" in Smoothie: adds creaminess/thickness
-1/4 of an avocado
-1/2-1 frozen banana
- 1/3-1/2 cup riced or a few steamed florets of cauliflower
Fruits: adds nutrition & sweetness
-1/4-1/2 cup of any frozen fruits
*If I already add a banana for creaminess then that's already my fruit for the smoothie.
Veggies & Greens: adds nutrition & some veggies add creaminess/thickness
-handful of greens like kale or spinach
-handful of veggies like cooked beets, zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin
Superfoods: adds nutrition boost
-1-2 TBSP of flax/chia/hemp seeds
-1-2 tsp of cacao powder or maca powder
-1-2 TBSP of coconut oil
-2 scoops of Further Food collagen peptides (use code BASOUSA10 for 10% off!)
Complimenting Spices/Extracts: add warmth and depth of flavor
-1/4-1/2 tsp of pure vanilla or mint extract
-any variety of spices (cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, cardamom, etc.)*
*The amount depends on the spice, some are more potent than others! Start with a few dashes & add more to taste.
Nut or Seed Butter: adds healthy fats, protein, & nutty flavor
1-2 TBSP of:
1/4-1 cup of:
*if making a smoothie bowl, add less liquid!
Ice: add if necessary*
*if fruits are room temperature
*for thicker smoothie
Mission non-toxic began when I recently started doing a lot of research into solving my own health issues by listening to more health/wellness related Podcasts and reading articles/books regarding gut health, hormone health, and auto-immune disease. A recurring theme I kept hearing and reading was that not only are our health issues related to what we eat, but also by what we put on our bodies (skincare/toothpaste/shampoo/laundry detergent etc.) and toxic environmental factors (including cleaning products).
Going non-toxic can seem a little overwhelming so I decided to put together this post with not only the reasons why I've become concerned and focused on transitioning towards a non-toxic lifestyle but also tips on where and how to start, some resources to narrow down what products are non-toxic, and products I'm using and loving thus far.
High-Exposure & Toxicity of Commercial Products
According to the Environmental Working Group, women use an average of twelve personal care products per day which can expose them to a daily average of 168 chemical ingredients. Men are a bit lower at six products but can still be exposed to 85 harmful ingredients.
A survey by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health analyzed 2,983 chemicals in personal care and cleaning products and determined that: (1)
So, not only are we being exposed to an insane amount of toxins per day if using commercial products BUT we are allowed to because there is little to no regulation! Beauty Counter, a non-toxic skin care company states on their website that the United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. WHAT!? That's 79 years ago!!
Something else INSANE is Europe bans about 1,300 chemicals from cosmetics that can cause major health issues but the United States only bans 11.(2) If countries that don't suffer from nearly as many health issues are leading by example, why are we not following?
Some of the chemicals used in commercial products (and food products) have been linked to serious health issues like cancer, auto-immune disease, hormone and endocrine disruption, leaky gut syndrome, and skin issues/irritation (eczema/psoriases/acne).
Below is a table from Environmental Working Group listing just a few of the harmful chemicals and their negative health effects.
A few other household toxins that could be problematic, listed by Dr. Josh Axe in his new book Eat Dirt are as follows:
Global Warming is a real thing and we are slowly killing our environment with toxins. Think about cleaning products for example, if your using toxic products, those are getting not only into the air but when you're cleaning your sink and toilet, into the water. Switching over to non-toxic products can help reduce your carbon footprint and can benefit the environment. If we all make little swaps, it can make a BIG difference.
Where and How to Start
Everyday Products | Check Toxicity Ratings
I didn't in one day throw out every single product I owned then went out and bought new ones. This has been a slow transition and one that I'm still working on. Over a few weeks, I started with my every day uses like my soap, skin care, deodorant, and toothpaste. We forget that our skin is one of our largest organs and absorbs whatever it's exposed to, it's pretty much the same as eating it. I already was using non-toxic cleaning products but I did also switch over my laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and dish soap since those are things I also am constantly exposed to.
Before tossing anything out, I checked my products to see what their ratings of toxicity were. Below are two great resources to do so.
Well, that's it for now! There are a ton of non-toxic companies out there today, just do your research and look into the ingredients companies are using. Especially with skin care, stick with ingredients you can recognize. I hope you feel inspired to start your mission non-toxic, feel free to share your story and favorite products!
(1) Barry, R The Melaleuca Wellness Guide. Ed. Richard M. Barry. RM Barry Publications. 2011.
I've been talking a lot on my social about health becoming something much larger than just a diet. My health journey really began when I realized it was so much more than that. I started to realize that all of the things surrounding me in my life and my perspective were a huge part of it. So, I wanted to share 5 quick tips that have helped me along the way to inspire you on your health journey. Figured I'd switch it up from the usual eat these things, do these exercises, etc. so hope they help! :)
Aside from the obvious fruits, vegetables, and water, below are some of my go-to essentials and daily necessities for a healthy lifestyle that you'll find my pantry and fridge.
Avocado & Coconut Oil
Both oils contain those "good fats" you always hear so much about. They're beneficial for digestion, skin and brain health, as well as boosting your metabolism. Luckily, you can use both of them for cooking to reap all these benefits! Avocado oil has a pretty neutral flavor profile so is great for everyday cooking, dressings, marinades, etc. Coconut oil, to me, has a very buttery flavor so I love cooking my eggs in it and use coconut oil for Asian dishes like cauliflower fried rice. It's also perfect for a healthy alternative for butter in baking recipes, replace 1-1.
Oats are amazing to say the least! They are so versatile, use them for oatmeal, overnight oats, baked goods, and also for savory risotto in place of rice - sky is the limit! Not only are they a good source of whole grains but are also high in fiber, low in fat, and high in protein.
Sprouted Grain Bread
Ezekiel Bread has become very popular over the past couple of years and is my fav. Firstly, because it tastes amazing with a nutty flavor profile and crunch factor. Secondly, because of it's health benefits. All six grains and legumes combined contain all 9 essential amino acids to create a complete protein. Also, because they are sprouted, this bread is much easier on digestion and nutrient absorption.
Variety of Whole Grain & Other Flours
There are so many options out there for flours these days other than white made from whole grains, nuts, coconuts, and legumes. Why are they better? Simply because they give an extra nutritional bang for your buck! Each type of flour adds it's own unique flavor/texture and health benefits. You can find boxed mixes with these flours for things like for muffins, cakes, pizza dough, and crackers from companies like Simple Mills, which I love!
Vanilla almond milk is the bomb and you'll always find a jug of Califia Farms in my fridge. The perk of almond milk vs. dairy is it's lower in calories (and usually sugar, as long as it's unsweetened), contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, and is a good source of Vitamin A & D. I'm not allergic to dairy, I just honestly prefer the taste and benefits of Almond Milk!
OB-SESSED with almond butter, absolutely cannot get enough. Put that *ish* on everything! Not only does it taste amazing but it contains key vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein.
They are exactly that, PERFECT. Of course, my favorite flavor is almond butter. They truly taste like a cookie to me and are a perfect grab and go breakfast. Who doesn't like cookies for breakfast? Perfect bars are very high in protein and contain 20+ superfoods, amazing.
Turmeric & Cinnamon are two of my absolute favorite spices and both have great anti-inflammatory properties. I use a warming spice that contains both and add it to just about everything, like chocolate chunk cookies, sweet & spicy roasted pepitas, and golden oat banana bread.
A.K.A "Booch" - I think many can relate that the addiction is REAL. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is known mainly for it's digestive benefits as it contains probiotics, enzymes, and antioxidants that aid in digestion and detoxify the body. It can also boost your immune system, energy, AND metabolism. It's pretty much magic juice in a bottle. GTS Kombucha, Gingerade flavor is my jam.
Superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that are 'super' beneficial for your body and well-being. They all pack a punch with antioxidants, naturally occurring chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases.
I always keep chia, flax, and hemp seeds in my fridge, they all have their each health benefits and additional vitamins/minerals. You'll also always find quinoa, 'the ancient grain' (which is actually a seed!), in my pantry. Quinoa is a higher protein alternative to your usual 'grain' and offers multiple other health benefits. It's a great addition to a balanced meal and a great crunch addition in granola!
Another must-have superfood is matcha, green tea powder. I love me a matcha latte mid-afternoon, especially with vanilla soy/almond milk, YUM. One serving of matcha has the nutritional equivalent of TEN cups of green tea!! Matcha is know to boost energy, metabolism, and concentration/focus. It also gets it's green color from chlorophyll a powerful detoxifier, helping to eliminate both chemicals and heavy metals from the body.
Further Food Collagen Peptides are something new that I've been using over the past couple of months and LOVE so far. I add it to my tea/coffee every morning, it dissolves right in and is tasteless but helps froth and thicken the almond milk. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body ensuring the health and vitality of your skin, hair, tendon, cartilage, bones, and joints. Because I'm so active, I need something to help repair and recover post-workouts. I also started taking it because of it's benefit for the skin and digestive system which are both necessary! Use discount code BASOUSA10 for 10% off!
Zoodles & Meatballs
Replace your plain old spaghetti with zoodles! Zoodles = zucchini noodles!
2-3 zucchini spiralized into zoodles (or store bought zoodles)
1-2 small cloves of garlic - minced
1 small shallot - minced
avocado oil (or olive oil)
1 large jar of good quality marinara sauce*
*I personally love Rao's or Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara
In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Begin warming marinara sauce in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat.
Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add zucchini noodles and continue to sautee until tender. Drain any extra liquid in the pan then season with a little salt & pepper. Add heated marinara sauce, stir and let simmer for 1-2 minutes for the flavors to meld. Serve with chicken meatballs.
Sweet Potato Noodle Pad Thai
I'm telling you, investing in a spiralizer is worth it! So many new and FUN things you can do with veggies. I LOVE this recipe for Sweet Potato Pad Thai by Pampered Chef.
Cauliflower "Fried" Rice
1 TBSP of sesame oil
1 TBSP of coconut oil
1 package of your favorite frozen stir-fry veggies - thawed
1 16 oz. bag of cauliflower rice
easy homemade teryaki sauce (recipe below)
optional: add cooked shrimp or chicken
easy homemade teryaki sauce
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
3 TBSP of rice wine vinegar
2 TBSP of honey
1 tsp of ground ginger (feel free to use some fresh ginger if you have on hand)
1 large garlic clove - minced
*Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until well combined.
Heat both oils in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add veggies and let sautee for 1-2 minutes until they begin to get heated through. Add cauliflower rice and teryaki sauce, turn heat up to high. Cook and stir until the cauliflower rice is toasted and tender. If adding (cooked) shrimp or chicken, toss in at the end. Serve with from fresh chopped parsley or scallions.
Who's ready for pumpkin everything!!? I am, I am!! Even though, I already miss summer, I have accepted that 'tis the season for crisp weather, cozy sweaters, and most importantly, PUMPKIN. Luckily, we can eat as much pumpkin as we want!! It's filled with fiber, Vitamin A, and potassium to keep you feeling full, seeing straight, and your muscles functioning at their best. Check out some (pumpkin) ideas below to make your fall the best one yet.
Add Pumpkin to Your Pasta Sauce
YES! It's delicious! Kick up your plain old pasta dinner by taking your store bought pasta sauce and adding pureed pumpkin to it. Check out this recipe for pumpkin meatballs with cinnamon pumpkin sage tomato sauce.
Make Your Own Pumpkin Yogurt
Add a scoop of pumpkin puree to your favorite yogurt. Mix in your favorite fall spices like cinnamon or pumpkin spice. Top with all the goodies!! My favorite are almond butter, granola, chopped candied ginger, and a drizzle of maple syrup. If I wanna kick up the protein, I'll even add a scoop of vanilla protein powder.
Use Pumpkin as a Healthy Replacement in Baking for Oil & Butter
Turn ALL your favorite baked goods pumpkin!! The oil ratio is 1-1, if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, replace with 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree. For replacing butter, multiply the amount of butter by 3/4. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, replace with 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree.
Add Espresso Powder to Pumpkin Puree to Make it a Pumpkin Spice Latte Puree
Hell to the yeah, this is a thing. A genius idea, that I wish I could take credit for and make millions off of. Check out this recipe from Food Network's show The Kitchen for pumpkin spice latte base. Use this base as you would regular pumpkin puree for all of the above. Just keep in mind it has sugar in it so you may have to adjust the amount in your baking recipes. Even try this base in your favorite chili! The combination of the coffee and pumpkin will blow your mind.
Don't Forget About Your Pumpkin Beer
Add your favorite pumpkin ale to your cupcakes to make the most fluffy, moist, light cupcake you've EVER had. I swear, these are a MUST try. It's like biting into a Pumpkin Ale (if that were possible), the spices explode in your mouth. Click here for pumpkin ale cupcakes recipe.
You're welcome. :D
Homemade Face & Skin Moisturizer
1/2 cup of shea butter
2 Tbsp of avocado oil
10-12 drops of grapefruit essential oil